Re: Nice looking hardware
Try the K-Wagen test with your iPad, then tell me the Panasonic is still fuggly.
We used to use Husky portables, which makes the Panasonic look like a bargain. Still, if your Mercedes K-Wagen gets stuck in a field, you can wedge the tablet under a wheel and use it a leverage to get out of the rut. You then just need to pick up your tablet, go to the nearest stream, dunk it in the water to wash it off, then you can carry on working, where you left off...
The only drawback with the Husky was that, despite being one tough mother, if you accidentally put the battery in the wrong way round (there was no lug to ensure the correct orientation), you would blow out the motherboard!
Devices like the Toughbook and Toughpad aren't there to look nice, they are there to stand the abuse of a field engineer stuffing it in his tool box or letting it slam around in the back of his Transit, then getting caught in a downpour as he tries to fathom out the wiring in a telecoms cabinet on a street corner.
It might be more expensive than an iPad and it might not look as good, but if the enviroment it is being used in requires a tough device, it is a darned sight cheaper than buying a new iPad every couple of weeks...
It is like saying a Land Rover Defender doesn't look pretty, compared to an Audi TT... Drive both of them through a couple of thousand miles of tropical jungle and wash them down and see which one looks pretty... Oh, wait, the TT is sitting under 4' of water 950 miles back. :-D
Also, the testing process to get those certifications isn't exactly cheap. We've just been through the IP6x testing for our terminals and that adds a significant amount to the price, for additional R&D, in house testing equipment, ruined prototypes and actual testing at an acredited body. We got IP69K (it will withstand high pressure, hot water from all side - or a firehose at full power from 1M distance), but we didn't manage to get IP68 (dunk it to 1.5M depth in room temperature water); it let in about an egg-cup full of water after an hour.
(not wanting to get pulled for advertising, no company or product names)